Wednesday, March 23, 2011

reusable produce bags

We've been buying our grains, beans, flour, etc. in bulk, and we've been using a lot of produce. I came home from my last trip to the grocery store with at least 15 plastic bags filled with our produce and/or bulk stuff. And I didn't even bag all the produce I bought. It was ridiculous.

I've also been reading a Zero Waste Home blog (thanks to my mom who likes to pass on interesting findings to us kids). This family only buys products in bulk in order to not bring home any packaging that results in waste, and in order to do that, they use fabric produce/bulk bags and glass jars for meat/dairy products. Fun to read about.

So this week I finally got around to making my own produce bags.

I took a mismatched sheet (we seem to have a flat sheet but no matching fitted) and cut it up.

I folded it in half and traced a plastic produce bag as a pattern. (Note: After sewing the bags, I think this is too large. I recommend making them about 3 inches shorter than the plastic bags from the store.)

I realized that the edges of the sheet had been finished in such a way that I could put a drawstring through the hem, so I was sure to line it up so that two of the original sheet hems lined up as the top of the bags.

I then folded the fabric over itself accordion style and cut, cut, cut until I had 8 large bags, 4 medium bags, and 3 small spice bags (Sprouts sells spices in bulk, so I can use these any time I need to refill a spice bottle.)

I sewed the sides, inserted some clothesline cord, and voila!

One of these days I'l like to carve a linoleum print just for these bags to give them some character, but for now I'm just happy to have resuable produce bags.

{Note: While these bags weigh next to nothing, they do weigh more than the plastic grocery bags. I can have them weighed and mark the tare weight on them so the grocer can subtract the tare weight from the produce I buy. However, they are so lightweight that I doubt the miniscule bit of extra weight will really affect the cost of the produce much.}


Packet of Seeds said...

I have been thinking of making the same thing! I even have some muslin in my sewing cabinet ...thanks for your inspiration. BTW...when did you find the time to whip these up? 2 little babies, 2 are one busy.. busy woman!

Molly said...

Karen--I "whipped these up" over the course of a few weeks. A little here, a little there. They took longer than I expected because I made so many. You should make some, though! They are simple, but a little time consuming. Post pictures when you do!

Amy Carter said...

awesome!! i need to do the same.

Tamra said...

Sweet! I've been using re-usable shopping bags for a while, but I've been disheartened by the produce bags. Great idea.

How many did you make? And does the grocery store give you a hard time about them?